What is it?

Whiplash is neck sprain or strain caused by an acceleration – deceleration injury which causes injury to the ligaments and tendons in your neck. Basically this is when your head and neck move suddenly forwards, backwards or sideways at speed causing a strain in the musculature around your spine. It can also cause the joints in your spine to stiffen up.

What does it feel like?

  • You may find it difficult to turn or flex your head to one or both sides, for example when turning around when reversing, or holding a telephone against your ear.
  • Your neck or even shoulders may feel tender and sore to touch.
  • You may experience headaches and/or mild dizziness but if these symptoms persevere or worsen you should visit your doctor.

What causes whiplash?

Whiplash can be caused by many events but is generally a traumatic incident such as a car crash (generally rear-end impact), a blow to the head (in contact sports such as boxing) or a fall which causes the head to move violently forwards then backwards.

How is whiplash diagnosed?

Your Physiotherapist or Doctor can diagnose whiplash from your symptoms and from hearing about how the injury happened. Whiplash can normally be diagnosed without tests or investigations. Further investigations such as x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are only needed if a fracture or another problem is expected.

How can Back in Action Physiotherapy help?

At Back in Action we will talk to you and listen to how your pain is affecting your everyday activities. We can help regain movement in your neck with mobilisations, massage and stretching. We can advise and educate you about your injury and set goals with you to achieve in and out of our sessions. Before you come to see us at Back in Action try to keep your neck moving as normally as possible to improve its functionality and speed up your recovery. Painkillers and Anti-inflammatories can help to relieve some pain and we recommend you see your local Pharmacist or Doctor regarding the best type for you.